CaliforniaCityNews.org-The Pismo Beach City Council voted 3 to 0 Monday to settle a lawsuit targeting its use of prayer during council meetings. Council members Kris Vardas and Mary Ann Reiss were absent for the vote.
Under the terms of the settlement, the city chaplain position will be eliminated and all forms of prayer will be discontinued. The city has also agreed to pay plaintiffs Dr. Sari Dworkin and the Freedom From Religion Foundation $1 each and will give their attorneys a minimum of $47,500 for legal fees.
Monday’s settlement follows more than 5 months of deliberations. The lawsuit, which was filed on November 1 of last year, alleged that the invocations, as well as the appointment of Pentecostal preacher Dr. Paul Jones as city chaplain, were unconstitutional.
“We are thrilled with this precedent-setting total victory,” said Andrew Seidel, staff attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “That said, we’re sad that there will be a burden on taxpayers when Pismo Beach could have just done the right thing in the first place.”
Pismo Beach City Attorney Dave Fleishman and City Manager Jim Lewis said the city denies liability in the case, but that the city council had ultimately decided that a legal fight would be an imprudent use of the public’s money.
Numerous other California cities, including Lancaster and Yorba Linda, have previously come under fire for their use of prayer at city council meetings. The broader issue is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently hearing a similar case out of Greece, New York. Story Source>LINK
Findings of Fact-Lancaster Lawsuit>LINK
Related articles across the web
You might be interested
Incoming search terms:
- desert dispatch newspaper april 17 2014 barstow